Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Great Books=Great Day!

I am having a fantastic day so far. I'm really hoping nothing brings me down now ; )

I turned in the edits and picked up some new Bleak House titles while at the office -- can't wait to jump in.

Then I went shopping with my leftover Christmas gift certificates. I spent some time at my favorite Pearl Street shops (Savory Spice Shop, Olive You & Me, and Peppercorn). One hour later I had blood orange olive oil, rose water, SSS homemade mango hot sauce, and a brand spankin' new Le Crueset skillet. So I decided to treat myself even more and bought two cupcakes at Tee & Cakes. After all, Top Chef premieres tonight and I always want a little treat while watching. And since I won't be cooking this week, a cupcake seemed the way to go.

Course Mike wanted to split one right away and I have to say that it was heavenly. Boston Cream Pie cupcakes, yum!

I'm thinking it's time to unpack the cookbooks finally. I've been using my Jack Bishop, but for the most part, the others have been sitting in the boxes waiting patiently for me to start cooking in my new kitchen. One of them I brought out this morning was Mark Bittman's The Best Recipes in the World. I don't think this is one for beginners, but if you aren't totally new to the kitchen and like to try new foods from around the world, this is a really great book to do that with. (I wish it had some pictures, but the thing is completely massive already, so I guess I can live without.) And with a resource like the Savory Spice Shop just a short drive away, it makes it that much easier to get excited about this book. But, if you don't have one near you, rest assured you can get everything online through their online shop and have it shipped directly to your door! How great is that?

This Bittman book was one of my holiday requests a few years back. Every time I look at it, I find something completely new that inspires me in the kitchen. The recipes range from very simple to a little more involved, but I haven't found any that I would consider outright complicated.

One interesting thing when browsing the book is that it is divided by ingredient/dish and then each recipe lists the country of origin, but if you wanted to do, say, a Caribbean-style menu, the index then lists each recipe by region: so you flip to the Caribbean section of the index and you can plan your menu from there.

I know that there are certain cookbook staples in every kitchen, Bittman's own How to Cook Everything being one of them, but for me, this one is the better fit. And now I can go try out my new blue Crueset oven-proof skillet on a dish like the Spanish Tortilla! Fun!

So, Top Chef, new skillet, and old favorites from the cookbook section -- now I just have to stay conscious of the calories, too!

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